Produced by Neil Hudson, who writes, “Our second album, ‘Peace In Our Time’ is influenced heavily, and almost solely by the fact I am a father. With so much unrest and violence in the world, it’s easy to turn your back and pretend none of it has an impact on your life. Or somehow because it’s a long way from home it’s someone else’s problem. War does not sleep. War does not stop. It doesn’t choose who dies and who lives. But the people who light the fire and fan the flames do…”
Release date: Friday 7 April 2017
2015 was a rather dramatic year for me. On Thursday 23 July, shortly before my 16th and—as it turned out—penultimate wedding anniversary, I caught viral meningitis which manifested itself in a quite literally blinding headache: the blindness lasted about three to four months, the headache for a year.
Somehow, within a week of being released from hospital I reviewed Krysthla’s then-forthcoming album A War of Souls and Desires (2015). I was clearly experiencing my own war but my desire to fulfil my promise to the band to preview their debut album won over despite the fact that I could barely see (I must have bumped my PC resolution to 800 × 600) and I had very little energy and so slept for more than 12 hours a day.
What the meningitis didn’t affect, however, was my ability to recognise a good collection of tunes when I heard one and I gave the album 100%. As I said in my conclusion, “If you are into extreme metal. If you like your Napalm Death and Meshuggah. Then seriously buy this! To many this may be just a lot of noise and shouting, but oh! what perfect noise and shouting! This is a modern metal masterpiece.”
Fast forward about 18 months and Krysthla are preparing to launch their ‘difficult’ second album Peace In Our Time. Can they do it again?
Well, yes! Yes, they can. Peace In Our Time is another modern metal masterpiece and I can’t stop listening to it. The album is technical and progressive, engaging and aggressive. The production is fresh and modern, the playing is intricate and precise. There is something here for everyone.
“The minor mystery of death” (track 1) is a perfect opening statement for the album. It has quite an epic, stately start that builds to a thundering riff. About halfway through it changes tempo a little, weaving quite a Meshuggah-like syncopated rhythm while a sympathetic guitar solo meanders through it. Then it’s back to the main riff to the end.
“Yawm al-Qiyamah” (track 2) is straight out of the blocks with a very American death metal riff, which quickly mutates into a surging, wave of a riff. What really makes this song is the hardcore-esque vocals that subtly cuts a counter rhythm through the band, staccato-ed, biting, relentless.
“Depths” (track 3) opens with an atmospheric and delicate soundscape. But don’t let that deceive you. This is one of the most brutal and frantic songs on the album. Within a minute all hell breaks loose and you are treated to a full-on thrash-out until about two-thirds in when things slow down for a Gorefest-like wail. And then it builds again. A crushing, powerful riff to which you can’t but help bang your head to. This song has everything.
“Make disciples of the nations” (track 4) has an extraordinary riff that serves like a call and answer:
This is one of the things I love about Krysthla: they are continuously mixing things up with new tempos, influences from death metal, doom, thrash, prog, djent, hardcore, industrial. In many hands this wouldn’t work but processed through the Krysthla writing filters it produces new and interesting sounds song after song.
“Within the lie of all lies” (track 5) is one of my favourite songs on the album. Passionate lyrics screamed over an emotion-inducing riff. My heart soars when I listen to this track. There is something beautifully simple about this song. I haven’t heard anything so perfectly metal this year than this song.
“In death we shall not die” (track 6) challenges “Depths” for the most aggressive song. By Krysthla standards this is a short song being the only song under five and a half minutes. But it stands its ground, makes its point and moves on.
“Age of war” (track 7) begins with another magnificent and mutating riff. Again, it has a bit of a Meshuggah/djent feel but this isn’t blind repetition: Krysthla have their own sound, their own voice and it is most certainly one to listen to.
“Eternal oceans” (track 8) slows things down for the album closer. A lamenting, doom-ful riff grinds itself towards the end. Vocalist Adi Mayes screams above the storm. I wish I could read the lyrics because they sound urgent and heartfelt.
And then, about a minute before the end of the song the tempo changes. A simple riff. Another guitar joins. BANG! Thrash! And it’s all over. As the Kurgan tells us in Highlander, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”.
There is no doubt that Krysthla in 2017 are a force with which to be reckoned. This is one brilliant album. On my first couple of listens through there were a few moments where I wasn’t entirely convinced. I wondered at the time if the album might drop a few percentage points. But now I can’t remember what my niggles were.
This album is a beautifully crafted statement of modern British metal and I love it. I have said again and again throughout this blog that what really fires me up is interesting music, music that appeals to all my senses, that appeals to my intellect as well as my ears. And this album, like their debut, has it and has it in abundance.
Review score: 100%
Krysthla are playing live this spring to promote the album. Go see them! I expect that I’ll go see them in either Dundee or Edinburgh mid-May.
Official lyric video for “Depths” (track 3)
Official lyric video for “Make disciples of the nations” (track 4)
Stampede Press UK contacted me at the end of January 2017 inviting me to preview Krysthla’s forthcoming album, which I was delighted about. I’ve spent the last four weeks within this on semi-permanent play: in my car, on my phone, at work, at home, on the hifi next to my bed…
I have no connections to either Stampede Press UK or Krysthla.
I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. But when the album comes out, I definitely intend to buy it to support the band because this is awesome!
Many thanks to Rob from Stampede Press UK, and Adi, Neil, Noel, Carl and Wayne from Krysthla for producing such an exquisite album.